Is It Okay to Drink Alcohol?

What do you say to those who claim drinking is OK because Jesus drank wine?

You say, "I think you meant to add just a word or two to that sentence, like 'drinking can be OK' ... OK?" The statement "It's OK" may or may not carry in their mind a pattern of life that's healthy.

I would say some drinking is definitely not OK, like drinking to drunkenness. That's clear in the Bible. Another one that's not OK is drinking with a person who is manifestly having their conscience wounded and being tempted or drawn into something that they just spent six years trying through Teen Challenge and AA to get free from. And now you're drawing them right in to what killed them! And it kills millions of people in this culture. It's killing marriages, it's killing jobs. Alcohol is deadly in this culture.

Now I don't know how deadly it was in Jesus' culture. Drunkenness was real. Clearly the Bible condemns it. How real and deadly it was though, I don't know. I just know what I'm dealing with when I go to talk at Teen Challenge or when I pray with a man like I did after church last Sunday who said, "When I'm done here, I'm going out and getting drunk, because I'm done. I think I'm apostate, and I'm beyond help and forgiveness. And I've been through treatment so many times it's hopeless." I just know that is so prevalent. People that are cavalier about this thing called alcohol make no sense to me.

So, I'm just saying, "Add a word to that sentence."

Of course you can't defend teetotalism in any absolute way from the Bible. It's clear that wine is a blessing in the Bible.

If you make the choice, like me, that I'm going to be a teetotaler, it's just not based on the condemnation of the evil of wine. That's just not it at all! It's the context in which I live. It's my children and my grandchildren. It's my addictive personality. I can't even buy a pack of gum without going through it in an hour.

I sense a lot of young guys who don't want to be legalistic and want to spread their wings and know gospel freedom are just not very realistic about the world in which we live.

So that's a little warning. And I know the pushback would be real strong from a lot of people I admire greatly that I could easily fall into a trap of ruling out for everybody what God has given as a precious gift.